Coworking business developer and manager Generator has announced the conditional acquisition of a 50 per cent interest in its operation by Precinct Properties.
Headquartered in Auckland's Britomart area, Generator was established in 2011 and leases out 3000sq m of redeveloped 'co-working space' over three sites within the Auckland CBD to 107 'member' companies.
Coworking is loosely defined as 'the use of office space or other working environments by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, and who are enabled to share property, equipment, ideas, and knowledge'. It is particularly viewed as providing an ideal property solution for the likes of start-up technology companies, advertising, PR and marketing agencies.
The company has refurbished character space in historic and older Britomart buildings into trendy offices, meeting rooms and business facilities that feature communal reception areas, bars and lounges where executives and staff of 'member' companies can network with each other and meet clients in more informal environments.
Precinct is a listed property company and the largest owner of premium inner-city business space in Auckland and Wellington, with 12 buildings collectively valued at $1.55 billion.
Ryan Wilson, Generator's founder and CEO, says that Precinct is the perfect partner for Generator for the next stage in its evolution.
"Generator has seen strong, consistent growth since it was created in 2011 and the partnership with Precinct comes at a perfect time to escalate that growth to a new level," Wilson says.
"Precinct is a serious operator in the property business in New Zealand and this partnership gives Generator a solid foundation for its own expansion plans and the roll out of an innovative schedule of programmes and services that will support our business ecosystem."
He says Generator is at the forefront of a global movement in 'coworking' that has seen dramatic growth and impacted significantly on CBD property markets worldwide in recent years.
Wilson says coworking worldwide is predicted to number more than 26,000 operators and 3.8 million members by 2020 - "a staggering 41 per cent compound growth since 2016, according to Forbes".
Wilson says that Generator's success has been through the provision of specialised, professional and a highly 'curated' [selective] co-working membership for its redeveloped properties.
"We place a great deal of emphasis on ensuring that members have a discreet, modern, relaxed and comfortable environment in which to work and socialise, but we also believe that there is an equal need to ensure our members can present a more formal and highly professional face to the market, when the situation demands.
"This extends both to the range of office environments and the facilities offered. Initiatives in the pipeline include rapid development of GENHUB, our digital community and information platform that allows members to interact with Generator's services and discover collaboration opportunities, a new in-house investment programme, member incentive scheme and international scholarship programme.
"We are always mindful that we exist because our members choose to be with us, which means we are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to help them grow their businesses and succeed," says Wilson.
George Crawford, Precinct's chief operating officer, says Generator is well aligned with Precinct's values and its strategy of being a city centre specialist and the purchase will give Precinct an opportunity to participate in a new and growing market segment.
"Generator has a strong management team and offers the opportunity to enhance the amenity and service levels that Precinct can offer its clients.
"It also enables Precinct to expand its traditional client base with smaller businesses, helping to grow occupancy and demand," Crawford says.